Warm water in channel improves offshore fishing

JIM NIEMIEC

Warm water currents moved in along the south coast and offshore

fishing really perked up this past week. Marlin finally started

biting both along the coast and off the east ends of both Catalina

and San Clemente islands, yellowtail and dorado were pretty

cooperative when the right floating kelp patty was located and

albacore finally staged a comeback for overnight boats, but

unfortunately it's still a lot of down days mixed in with wide-open

fishing for the longfins.

Along the beach the sand bass bite continues strong, there are

still lots of big barracuda filling gunny sacks on board sport boats

and the showing of bonito makes the outlook for the remainder of the

summer fishing season pretty promising. Balboa Angling Club member

Joe Lindelmann weighed in a 13-pound dorado he caught about five

miles off the 14 Mile Bank on board the yacht Free Bird.

There is some 72-degree water on the Avalon Bank and that's where

most of the marlin action took place this week. Other areas that also

produced hookups were the 181 spot, off Pyramid Head and the

deepwater trench off San Mateo. Chuck Holland of Balboa went marlin

fishing by himself in his 24-foot Boston Whaler Amorus and hooked

into a spikebill while trolling a lure off Clemente. The fish was

released in the best interest of conserving the billfish fishery off

the Southern California coast. According to J.D., at J.D.'s Big Game

Tackle located on Balboa Island, it looks like the marlin season is

in full swing with a big area of fish showing up. Cold water on the

outside has shoved warmer water close to the beach were there is

plenty of bait to allow marlin to settle down into a pretty steady

feeding pattern.

Other boats that recorded hooked fish over the weekend were:

Harbor area resident Paul Artesen fishing aboard the Blue Chip, who

took the day off from the falling Dow Jones and caught a striped

marlin about eight miles off San Mateo with Captain John Holmes at

the helm. The Poco Loco, skippered by Danny Jones, had a marlin jump

on a yellow and red EAL jig right on top the 279 Spot. This billfish

got tail-wrapped and died and it was a first fish for their friend,

Brett. The Wild Bill, a 40-foot Blackwatch, captained by Bill

Kingsmill of Dana Point, hooked a marlin on a Sevenstrand electronic

lure four miles inside the 279 Spot last Sunday morning and the lucky

angler who grabbed the rod was Dave Herrera of Dana Point.

On Aug. 7 the sportfisher Joker, a 36-foot Pacifica, missed a

couple of marlin on jigs fishing an area above Dana Point, four miles

southeast of the 279 Spot. Later in the morning captain Steve Behrens

of Costa Mesa spotted a leaping swordfish and cast a live mackerel to

the tailer but it wouldn't bite. A few minutes later a marlin came up

and the marlin turned on the bait but the fish didn't eat the

mackerel. On Sunday, below the same area, a blind jig strike off a

patty put a 20-pound dorado in the fish bag and then Behrens headed

farther down the line. Jack Rainwater of Costa Mesa hooked up solid

to a marlin that bit a purple EAL lure and this fish was released.

Most of the action took place in a small patch of water with sea

temps ranging from 72.4 to 73.6 degrees.

Most of the yellowtail being caught under the kelps are on the

small side, but there have been some 20-pound class fish landed at

San Clemente Island to go along with an excellent calico bass bite

and a few white seabass showing up in the daily dock counts for the

two sportfishing landings in the bay.

Pier fishing is fair for small game fish with an occasional legal

halibut being reeled in for anglers able to make live bait. Bay

fishing is good for spotted bay bass, sand bass and halibut near the

jetty, while inner channels in the bay are producing croaker, short

seabass and assorted rays and sharks.

Surf fishing remains good for yellowfin croaker, barred perch and

sharks. This writer tested the waters off Newport's 17th Street on

Sunday morning "catching and releasing" small yellowfin and sharks on

sand crabs while fishing just in front of a low tide. Other anglers

also were fishing in the surf from the Balboa Pier clear up to the

rock jetties and all reported good fishing and warm water conditions.

Schools of albacore popped up again for the San Diego fleet

earlier in the week and these fish should find their way into

overnight range for sport boats running out of Davey's Locker and

Newport Landing Sportfishing by this weekend. Water conditions are

ideal with lots of bait and by the end of the month anglers on both

private yachts and sportfishers could be looking to some very good

fishing for the exotics. Yellowfin tuna and dorado are currently

moving north along Baja and this early fall migration should follow

warm currents right through mid-channel waters.

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